Saturday 24 February 2018

Seven people stabbed and police attacked at well-known UK festival

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Seven people were stabbed at the Notting Hill Carnival event in London which took place over the weekend and Monday.

The event, which attracts thousands, was hit with a number of incidents including attacks on police.

Martin Hewitt from the Met said that stabbings have been a problem in the past but police were "pleased" with this year's seven incidents - a reduction on previous events.

None of those stabbed were seriousl injurd.

"That is successful but we should be able to have the event with no violence," he said.

A person was arrested attempting to attend the festival with a loaded pistol he added.

Meanwhile a police representative has hit out at the number of attacks on officers at the event.

The event in west London saw 28 police officers injured, with bottles and other objects thrown at them, blood spat at them and a potentially acidic substance thrown at them.

It has led Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh to ask: "What other event would be allowed to carry on regardless with so many police colleagues under attack?"

He said he suspected the true figure of officers injured on duty during the two-day carnival will end up being more than 28 - the number released by the Metropolitan Police on Monday night.

In a statement released on Tuesday, he said: "The Met have put out a statement saying 28 of our colleagues were injured over the weekend at the Notting Hill Carnival. As almost a matter of fact. As if this is the norm. As if this is acceptable.

"It is none of the above. It is a disgrace. Twenty-eight brave colleagues went to work this weekend and were attacked for just doing their job. This is not normal. This is not acceptable.

"There are now so many officers being injured every year at the carnival - with more than 40 last year and let's not forget that an officer was stabbed in 2015. What other event would be allowed to carry on regardless with so many police colleagues under attack?"

The Metropolitan Police Federation represents 32,000 officers in London.

Mr Marsh, who spent Monday at the carnival, said the Metropolitan Police has a responsibility to look after its officers.

"A huge number of officers are getting attacked every year at this event," he added.

"The service knows this is going to happen and send officers to this event knowing this is going to happen.

"Something needs to be done. We can't carry on like this."

Mr Marsh said he would be taking the issue up with every level of the Met and the London Mayor's Office.

"Enough is enough," he went on.

"Politicians and commanding officers are quick with their platitudes and praise for our members but what we want to see are tangible measures to reduce the number of officers under attack."

Some 313 arrests were carried out as of 10pm on Monday, the Metropolitan Police said, many relating to drugs and offensive weapons.

More than a third of the arrests - 112 - were for drugs offences, while there were 58 arrests for possession of an offensive weapon or knife/blade, 37 public order arrests and 17 common assault arrests.

Some 14 arrests for sexual offences were also carried out, while 17 arrests were made for assaults on police officers.

Police seized a number of knives and batons, CS spray and a hammer.

In another incident, three people reported "skin irritation" not thought to be serious, while two more were hurt in a subsequent stampede, when a "mild acidic liquid" was thrown over a number of people near Ladbroke Grove on Sunday evening.

No arrests have yet been made in connection with it.

The number of arrests is so far lower than last year, when more than 450 people were arrested across the two days of festivities.

This year's carnival had a more sombre tone as respects were paid to those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire.

Dozens of white doves were released in an emotional opening ceremony on Sunday, while the colourful parade of floats and revellers halted for a minute's silence at 3pm on both days to remember those killed in June's deadly fire just a short distance away.

The Lancaster West estate, where the blackened shell of the tower stands, was fenced off from the main carnival procession out of respect for local residents and mourners.

Steve O'Connell, chairman of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, said: "Having previously raised concerns about public safety, we are pleased to see the number of arrests for offences such as drugs and weapon possession have fallen."

But he added there was "still more to do to make Carnival a safer and better experience for all".

A video of a youth tripping up a police officer at the carnival has been viewed thousands of times on Twitter.

The mobile phone footage shows an officer in a hi-vis jacket running purposefully along a litter-strewn road.

The camera pans round to show the young man he appears to be running towards drop down onto the ground just as the officer reaches him, causing the officer to tumble over him.

The youth, who was wearing black gloves, a white T-shirt, black trousers and a black backpack, then runs away, slipping his backpack off his shoulders as he is pursued by another officer.

The 10-second film is captioned "He came in for the tackle and manoeuvred great gameplay lmao #NottingHill" and has been retweeted more than 9,000 times.

Scotland Yard confirmed the number of officers injured during the carnival had gone up to 31.

Assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt said: "I do not believe that when policing an event of celebration for London it is acceptable that 31 of my officers were injured.

"Whilst this is fewer than last year, it is still too many - it should not be any of our expectations that this violence against police officers takes place."

Press Association

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